Over the weekend I went to a Women’s retreat at my church. Overall, it was a positive experience. Usually retreats are a time to replenish your soul. I, however, did good just to sit through it and not bolt out of the door.
Everyone was seated at round tables. A couple of women were leading us in praise and worship. They promised the room we were in was a “safe place.” I wasn’t sure if I bought that. I sat there staring at the vibrant yellow paper that had been taped over the top as a make-shift tablecloth. There were words of encouragement written across it. A bucket of chocolate sat in the middle. The truth is I felt very unsafe. I felt very unsure of who I was, my place in the church, and if I would be accepted by my peers. I wanted to go home to my own bed where I knew I would be safe and not judged, where I knew I would not have to wonder, “what is wrong with me?” It was overwhelming social anxiety. These feeling came from a mixture of places. Because of my extreme anxiety, I was not able to enjoy worshiping. I kept looking at the door. I would look down at my purse and mentally plan my escape route.
As I sat there making my escape plan, I also sat there thinking about being a servant to everyone there. I know intellectually that everyone struggles with the very emotions I was struggling with. –Not being accepted and fear of rejection. I decided it was my mission to quit focusing on myself and to make others feel as welcome and wanted as I possibly could, considering my own level of insecurity.
I began to take notes and doodle my thoughts out on a note pad that was provided to us. At some point I doodled out,
“Let it go and begin the rest of your story.”
To begin again is a refreshing thought. Just start trying. As the retreat came to a close I doodled out, “Let Go and let God take Control.” But I still wanted to fix things.
I was still focusing on the things I had written down the previous couple of days during church on Sunday. Then we sang, “I Surrender All.” That was all I needed. It was the reminder I needed. In the A.A. program you are taught to surrender as part of the first three steps. Peace swept over me. I did not have to worry about this! If God wants me involved in something, it will happen. Wheels will turn. I don’t have to make things happen. Once again, I am reminded of what a control freak I am. I have a great deal of growing to do and learning to speak up. I don’t have to be in control of making things happen, I just have to relinquish myself to allow them to happen. In the meantime, I just need to work on my own growth.
Sweet Surrender; Blessed Peace.